34b…If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?
– Mark 8:34-37

Humanity has come a long way, hasn’t it? We have accomplished a lot. We’ve built everything bigger, webbed information across the globe to bring the world’s wisdom into the palms of our hands and the truth is that the culture around us continues to do today what it has done since our first parents began its own first movement. We’ve progressed our culture towards a unity that bows to the created and away from the creator. Sure, we’ve made leaping strides toward a global mindset that makes sense in a humanistic way.

At a glance it almost seems like most of those things would break down walls between us, right? The reality is that these are the coping mechanism of a world that has lost an identity that it is scrambling to find through any means necessary apart from the Creator of it all. Yet it sure seems like humanity should have gained that better world everyone says we are achieving by our gains but the more we grasp the world the more we forfeit of who we were created to be. Pastor Rich had it right last Sunday as he reminded us that as we “gain the world,”—which is synonymous with living according to the flesh—we begin the adamic freefall where the terminus is physical and spiritual isolation from the Spirit of God in us and from the rest of God’s people (Mk 8:36, Ro 8:5).

34b…If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?
-Mark 8:34-37

Day by day, we isolate ourselves from one-another, erecting walls between one-another. These walls are built by my own hands each time that I try to reinvent a life for myself the same way Adam and Eve did and for the same purpose they did… to gain. Like our first parents we only need to glance away from what we could gain apart from our saving God for a moment to realize the life full of love and grace that we are standing in already.

Let me share with you some hope that that will set aside your will to gain and cause you to embrace the loss of a dying life for anyone in Christ. Write down as many of the one-anothers that you can find in scripture (i.e. “forgive one-another,” “love one-another,” “honor one-another over yourself,”) and you will not only have a prescription for how to treat and serve others but you will also be able to list from those commands the needs that you have as a believer in Christ. And then as you find the truth of these ring true, reach out to someone else in Christ and make a commitment to live a life of one-anothering with them to tear down—brick by brick—the walls that separate us from each other. The power to do so is in the Holy Spirit that resides in each believer and real hope of a new life in true unity comes from this realization: Walls flipped on their side are bridges. Realize that God allows us to erect our walls for one reason. So that He can flip them into bridges.

Here is one simple way to help your spouse or close brother or sister in Christ (that comes directly from the written Word and has become the foundation of the counseling-discipleship relationships that God brings my way). While it is difficult at times to make out what all these walls are made of it is God’s revelation that will point them out to us. As Pastor Rich mentioned last Sunday, the One-Anothers of scripture will fill not but if we look through the lens of God’s illuminating revelation we can clearly see that those things which (our envy, boastfulness, unforgiveness) we need the light of God’s special revelation to uncover for us and bring to light.
To begin with, while they may not have built by my own hand, I’ll stand with my hands bracing a wall that may be ready to come down—all to hold on to my safe place of isolation wherein I can remain safe and invulnerable to the blatant and inadvertent attacks of other people. One common picture today, familiar to all of us, is our family together at a dinner table, each with one’s own device. Mine is a very common family of today, all sitting together but each with a phone or device in their hands. And up springs another wall between us. Walls all around us to actually isolate us, even when our goal was to be more free. This is when I sometimes sit back and think after all of the above how incredible it is that God builds for us a bridge. Because God has a knack for rearranging walls into bridges.